Have You or a Loved One Been in an Accident in the Last Six Months?

I was in a car accident on Monday, nothing serious, but the shunt from behind gave me whiplash, I’m sure of it. My neck throbs all the time. Now, I’m not someone who’d usually think about litigation, it was an accident, and it was a work colleague of mine. He’s an asshole, sure, but no hard no foul. He asked that we didn’t go through the insurance and that he’d cover it himself. I know he’s on good money, so who was I to argue.

Tuesday however, he turns up to work in a brand-new Mercedes. My car, a Fiat Punto, now with a bumper that barely hangs on and there’s this screech that whines out when I reach 40 mph, I can’t go any faster for the fear of permanent hearing damage. I asked him how’s he getting on with getting my car fixed. He said he had it covered, his “mate” will be coming over at lunch to assess the damage and will quote him on what’s needed. I told him I’d prefer if I just took it to a garage and get an official quote. That’s when he looked at me like I’m the shithead. His nose creased and his eyes grew small.

“You can’t trust those people; they see you coming. Will tell you things are wrong with your car that aren’t just so you pay more for work that don’t need to be done. You know nothing about cars, do you?”

I was sheepish. He was right. But he made me feel so God damn small, a pang of ire grew in my stomach, the arrogant prick.

“My mate’ll see to it.”

Tuesday ended and the “mate” didn’t arrive. I watched him drive his C-Class out of the company car park, letting his £300 tyres squeal as he did. I’ve never hated someone before, I mean really hated, where I want to see them crash in a fiery wreck, screaming while the central locking keeps them tucked up warm within. I wished I slammed on my brakes and heard his neck snap. Can you hear a neck breaking from within another car?

The feeling only grew when I got in my car. The fucking aircon was broken, so I drove back home with the windows down, sweltering and listening to what sounded like a banshee wail from the boot of the car.

I didn’t sleep well, what with the heat and the massive sense of injustice that burned inside of me.

Wednesday morning, around 6am, I had a call. One of those damn automated insurance calls.

“Have you or a loved one been in an accident in the last six months?” the stilted recording of a woman asked.

“Fuck off!” I shouted, feeling slightly better, being able to vent to this robot.

The line went silent, as I assumed the software at the other end of the line tried to work out who “Fuck off” was.

“I’m sorry? Have you or a loved one been in an accident in the last six months?” the recording repeated, this time with a slightly different lilt and the addition of “I’m sorry” at the start.

“I have actually, someone fucked my car up, drove right up my ass and now my neck is in so much fucking pain and I wish the other driver was dead. Is that what you want to hear?”

“Do you believe you have experienced whiplash as a result of an accident? You could be entitled to compensation.”

“I can, can I?” I said sarcastically, “Go on then, get me my fucking compensation, get me justice.”

“I just need to take some details,” the robot woman said. I was actually impressed the software could get something useful out of my expletive ridden speech.

“Where did this accident occur?”

“On the way into my company car park,” I replied, not aware I was now becoming compliant, though I didn’t care, I could feel some of that pent-up aggression leaving me. I can definitely recommend complaining to a machine.

“And what date was that?”

“22nd of this month, Monday.”

“Thank you, for taking the time to answer my questions. There won’t be many more.”

“Do you have the details of any other vehicles involved?”

“Yes, fucking Marcel Shithead Metz.”

“Thank you, please wait a moment.”

I was calm by then, I felt good.

“Now, I just need to take some personal information.”

“I’ve changed my mind,” I said and hung up.

I got ready for work and left.

While driving to work, I barely heard the phone ring over the sound of the squealing from the back of the car.

“Hello?” I shouted, “I can’t talk now.”

I heard someone on the other end talk, but the noise was too loud to hear.

“Hang on!” I said and I found somewhere to pull over.

“Sorry about that.”

“Nothing to worry about, Mr Samson.”

“And who might you be?”

“I am following up on a claim you made for an accident you recently had.”

“Oh, fuck me,” I said.

“I’m sorry, Mr Samson, is this a bad time?”

It wasn’t a recording this time, it was a real woman, and instantly I felt embarrassed by my swearing.

“I apologise, I thought you were a machine.”

“Nonsense, Mr Samson, I’ve heard worse.

“Now, we only need a bit more information for you to make a claim.”

“I’m really not interested,” I said.

“Are you sure? I heard the sound when I phoned, that doesn’t sound good. Was that a result of the accident?”

“Yes, but I’m not interested.”

“I’d be mad too if I was left with damage like that and the other guy is driving a new car.”

“Who are you?”

“I only need a minute of your time to get a few pieces of information.”

“Wait a minute, how do you know my name?”

“You gave it in the introductory call.”

“I certainly did not.”

“Mr Samson, can I call you Ted?”

“I’m hanging up the phone now.”

“Wait, before you go, you said you wanted justice. I can give you that.”

“I’d love justice, but not the type you’re offering. You’re a fucking spam company is what you are. Randomly phoning people until you get some sucker to give over all their details and you keep 90% of the payout.”

“We are not like that at all, Mr Samson.”

“I’m hanging up now, and don’t call again!” I said, again.

The company phoned back twice during the rest of my journey.

I parked next to Marcel’s brand-new piece of corporate shit and “accidently” slammed my door into his as I got out. I’m not proud of that but fuck him.

He avoided eye contact all day. I didn’t ask him about his “mate”, because if I did, he’d make me feel like I was shit on his shoe, and I’d do something I’d regret, like slash his tyres or piss in his milk. I’d come to terms with the fact I’d need to call my insurance and do it all above board.

This brings me to this morning. As I’m leaving for work, a letter dropped through my letter box. It didn’t have my address on it, only my name, written in pen. I opened it to find an invoice for £2,500. I didn’t recognize the company name, “Accidents and Resolutions Ltd.” I knew who that was, and I wasn’t going to pay a damn thing.

I called the number from yesterday.

“I’m sorry, this number is no longer in use.”

Another fucking robot.

There was a number on the invoice. I phoned that. It rang a few times and then I heard a recording. It was a soundbite from my conversation on repeat.

“I have actually, someone fucked my car up, drove right up my ass and now my neck is in so much fucking pain and I wish the other driver was dead. Is that what you want to hear?”

“Go on then, get me my fucking compensation, get me justice.”

I listened to it a few more times before it stopped.

“Your accident claim is being processed, please hang up or press 0 to take our survey.”

My phone vibrated; I checked the screen. It was my boss.

I hung up and answered.

“Sorry, I’m late, something came up,” I said, before my boss could speak.

“Get your ass down here, Marcel hasn’t turned up and we have in today. I need you on your A-game. Do you think you can step up? This could be your chance to impress.”

“Yes, I can do that,” I replied.

Today went well, super-well in fact. £2,500 – seems reasonable, I think I better pay it.

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